Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica SA is leading a project with 10 more companies including Alstom SA, Acciona SA and Iberdrola Renovables SA to build a 15-megawatt turbine in a bid to drive down costs of offshore wind power.
Gamesa is coordinating “Azimut: Offshore Wind Energy 2020,” an initiative that requires a 25 million-euro ($33.8 million) investment by the companies during the next four years. The program will establish technology by 2013 to develop the turbine from 2020, Gamesa said today in a statement.
By building turbines more than twice as powerful as current models sold, the promoters are betting they can overcome hurdles to offshore wind power including the higher investment requirements compared with land-based wind power and the challenges in delivering energy to shore.
German turbine makers Enercon GmbH and REpower Systems AG have developed 6-megawatt offshore wind machines. REpower’s model, with a capacity of 6.15 megawatts, has a rotor diameter of 126 meters (413 feet). Clipper Windpower Plc is developing a 10-megawatt machine and Norwegian renewable energy company Sway AS is working on a floating version.
Under the Azimut program, Gamesa will oversee the turbines, while Acciona Windpower will undertake the technology required to convert wind energy to electricity. Acciona Energia will carry out construction, operation and maintenance of the offshore sites and Alstom will be responsible for the sea-based substructures. Iberdrola Renovables will manage integration of offshore wind energy into the electricity grid.
In addition, 22 research centers specializing in offshore wind technology joined the project, which won approval from Spain’s Center for the Development of Industrial Technology, a unit of the country’s Ministry of Science and Innovation.